A Second Work Of Grace?

Q. I continue to be blessed by your site. Every day or so, I check out your new postings. I can only imagine the commitment on your part to keep this going. Bless you!!!

Your posting about the exchange between Peter and the Lord sparked a question about the Holy Spirit. I was raised Quaker and, as a young adult, sat under the teaching of an Episcopal church that was in renewal (charismatic – don’t like using that “tag” because immediate opinions are made). Quakers hold to a “second work of grace” or sanctification and the Episcopal church taught the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Since that time, I question some of the teaching about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I can’t help but observe that those who adhere to that teaching lead a more dynamic spiritual life than those who don’t. I believe it has to do with the idea that the spiritual man can and should expect the power of the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. I’ll admit that some of the “goings on” in the charismatic realm has more to do with human endeavor than originating with the Spirit, but there is something working there. The church that my husband and I currently attend believes that you receive the Holy Spirit at conversion. Period. They are good people that mostly love the Lord and work very hard in church activities, but the dynamics are missing.

What do you make of the teaching of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resulting dynamic lives of those who adhere to that teaching?

A. I’ve never seen persuasive Biblical evidence for a baptism of the Holy Spirit. I think you make a valid point that those who believe in and receive this baptism create an expectation that the Holy Spirit will be more active in their lives, and are therefore more open and responsive to His leading. (As you also point out, some are open to things that aren’t of the Spirit as well.)

I think it was Charles Stanley who said, “When you became a believer you received all of the Holy Spirit there is. The question is not how much of the Spirit is in you, but how much of you is in the Spirit.”

In my own experience, as I’ve become more willing to yield control of my life to the Lord I’ve always found the Holy Spirit ready to respond with everything I’ve needed. I may not be the most vocal guy during worship, nor does my behavior draw the attention of others, but when I’m about the Lord’s work I can feel the power and see the results. In my opinion, followers of Jesus don’t need more baptisms, we need more submission to His Lordship.

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